By Tom Quiner
“The utter embarrassing mess of ‘Noah’ and why everybody is lying about it.”
How’s that for the headline for a movie review on ‘Noah’ which opens today? Let me pass on excerpts from this review, written by Catholic screen writer and critic, Barbara Nicolosi:
“Everything is politics. And nowhere is that more true than in media. The same polarization that fired Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and then got him rehired, and made Mel Gibson $600 million, and then lost him his Hollywood career, and made half the world want to canonize Roman Polanski with the other half wanting him castrated — these are the same social causes propelling the embarrassingly awful horribleness of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah,’ into an 76% fresh rating from the shameless, agenda-driven critics at RottenTomatoes.com, and setting so many Christian leaders and critics into whoring for the same. Please, stop the madness. It is astounding to me how Christians can be lured into a defense of the indefensible because they are so afraid of the charge of “unreasonablenes.” Trying so hard to be nice, we end up being patsies for people who have no other agenda than to make money off of us.”
Come on, Barbara, tell us how you really feel.
On the other hand, another Catholic reviewer, Steven Greydanus, who is in the Catholic Deaconate Program, reviews the film with a little more calm:
“Darren Aronofsky’s Noah pays its source material a rare compliment: It takes Genesis seriously as a landmark of world literature and ancient moral reflection, and a worthy source of artistic inspiration in our day.
It is not a “Bible movie” in the usual sense, with all the story beats predetermined by the text, and actors in ancient Near Eastern couture hitting their marks and saying all the expected things. It is something more vital, surprising and confounding: a work of art and imagination that makes this most familiar of tales strange and new: at times illuminating the text, at times stretching it to the breaking point, at times inviting cross-examination and critique.”
I am still trying to decide if I want to see Noah, which stars Russell Crowe in the title role. I follow both Ms. Nicolosi and Mr. Greydanus, and respect what they have to say about the movie business. Both write for the respected National Catholic Register. Ms. Nicolosi was a theological consultant for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and the television series, “Saving Grace” with Holly Hunter.
Mr. Greydanus publishes a wonderful website of film reviews written from a Christian perspective called Decent Films.
So what is one to make of this film when Ms. Nicolosi fumes over how un-Christian it is …
“Honestly, there is so little that is Biblical in the piece that it isn’t even worth critiquing it as an irreverent adaptation. If the Bible was an original writer of the material, the WGA wouldn’t even insist on it getting a shared story credit with Aronofsky. It isn’t an adaptation in any serious sense of that term. There is a boat, a flood, and a guy named Noah in both pieces, and that is all they have in common.”
… while Mr. Greydanus really kind of digs it:
“For a lifelong Bible geek and lover of movie-making and storytelling like me, Noah is a rare gift: a blend of epic spectacle, startling character drama and creative reworking of Scripture and other ancient Jewish and rabbinic writings. It’s a movie with much to look at, much to think about and much to feel; a movie to argue about, and argue with.”
I’ve provided the links above for you to read their complete reviews.
If you see Noah, tell me what you think. I know I can’t see it for at least two weeks, so I welcome your perspective.